“I have few regrets. Writing for Fasterlouder is one of them.”
I was intrigued to read the following words from QLD journalist Sophie Benjamin on her blog …
“I was 19 years old when I started my journalism degree. I wanted desperately to improve my writing. It was a motive that naive, combined with my love of music that led me to sign up as a contributor for Fasterlouder and then-fledgling music blog whothehell.net. It’s three years on. I still blog for whothehell, and deeply regret writing for Fasterlouder.”
Folk in town always raise a couple of eyebrows whenever Faster Louder (“Australia’s leading independent live music hub”) is mentioned. It’s like the obnoxious younger brother of the more serene Mess And Noise that no one likes to talk about. Copy appears to go unedited, and quality control is lacking: but I’m not sure that any of this matters. It reminds me a little of Drowned In Sound when it first started out: a free-for-all of a music community where the focus is more on the forum and the quantity, rather than the quality, of content. Mind you, the same can be said about Who The Hell… although Who The Hell focuses mainly on Australian acts (and has no forum).
Faster Louder and Mess And Noise are owned by the same company, and while Faster Louder appear to be more profitable, it’s Mess And Noise who pay their contributors. Faster Louder don’t. This leads to live reviews like the following:
“Are you guys nervous to be here too”? Cat Power is jittery about her debut at Sydney’s Opera House. From the countless times she urges the mix-desk to turn things up, down and back again, to her stiff fingers that spend most of the night trying to furrow their way out of the spotlight and into the unyielding pockets of her very tight jeans – Cat Power is more than a little uncomfortable.
Nice to know Chan was wearing very tight jeans.
I was intrigued as to why Sophie felt so differently about the two sites, so I thought I’d send her a few questions.
The opinions expressed in the answers below are solely Sophie’s. First, another quote from the original blog.
“My beef is that Fasterlouder churns through unpaid contributors in the name of being ‘Australia’s leading independent live music hub’, without giving these writers any guidance as to how they could improve their writing and exploiting the bands they write about by requesting door spots for their writers. My work was rarely proof-read, let alone edited. At least my first dozen posts on whothehell were edited and checked by editor Jerry Soer before I was given my own log-in.”
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